The one thing that has caught my fancy lately are vintage souvenir plates (but then vintage souvenir pieces are often so über-cool anyway!). Now usually the term "souvenir plate" or "collector plate" would give me the shudders, and the image before my mind's eye would be of stacks of Albert Anker plates gathering dust at a thrift shop, or Ashton-Drake, Franklin Mint or whatever ads for Thomas Kinkade "art" plates or cheap souvenir plates that nobody would ever venture to display at home voluntarily.
However, two years ago, I happend to find two super cute vintage American souvenir plates, very 50s style, at a thrift shop here in Zurich. Resistance was pointless - I had to have 'em, even if I've never been to Iowa or Nebraska. Of course it would have been nice had there been more of them, but how do you find them, when there's not even a maker's mark on them?
Talk about finding a needle in a haystack! Well, something over a week ago, I had purchased a showcase spot for my sexy Isabelle Allard cocktail dress on Etsy. Not that it helped... but when I checked the spotlight at work (I don't usually do this kinda stuff at work, but honestly, I'm a curious person!), I spotted a collection of souvenir plates on the same showcase... and not just that, one plate looked just like the two I had! Now, how much luck is that? I was giddy to say the least, quickly logged in, dashed off a convo to the seller asking for the shipping costs to Europe and went back to my work. And yes, it did work! I have met another wonderful Etsy seller, who was very helpful.
Today I went to pick up the parcel at the post office. They all arrived undamaged - and nicely wrapped! And there was a surprise - two extra plates at no extra cost!
So here's the Vermont plate to match the other two (and after all, I have been to Vermont!). They're a nice dessert plate size, so I hope to find more to match them, even though I have have enough tableware already (yes, that can be addictive too!).
And here are the other ones:
Featuring Colorado, Williamsburg (note the funky pink buildings!), the Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, Gettysburg, Connecticut, New Hampshire and the Niagara Falls. Most of them are transfer printed, and the Niagara plate is meant to be hung on a wall, it comes with a string attached for that purpose. Most of the plates have no mark, but the Vermont one has one, it was actually produced in Burlington VT - so I'm continuing my search. Two plates are marked "Japan" which probably dates them to anywhere from the 50s to 70s or so (I think later, "cheap" production moved to other countries - at least that's how it was with Barbie doll). Interestingly though, the Vancouver plate was produced in Germany! But my search for the mark has turned up nothing so far.
The New Hampshire plate, though produced in Japan, is they only one which *might* have been handpainted.
Maybe this was sold at Franconia Notch? It's not shown (which really is too bad), but was added in writing at the bottom like almost an afterthought.
I don't know yet what I will do with these other plates. The only kitchen wall that could be decorated is already decorated with things that I like a lot (and at least one is just as kitschy):
A friend pointed me to this site - some fun ideas how to display souvenirs. Great! That lead me here - a dish rack full of colorful souvenir plates might be fun, I think. Or one might go full monty like here. Oh, choices, choices... Of course, the ultimative thing would be a wall full of Marimekko plates! Now there I could get envious....!
I have one other plate (from the same friend), which I display in my "kitsch corner", and which features another very tacky piece of china.
Honestly, isn't this vase fab? No, it's not high quality, but it was just too much fun to not buy it. Ah, the glory days when our offices where in the city and I could venture a visit to the flea market on a Saturday morning, before going to work!
Well, going back to thinking what I'll do with all these plates now...